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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly readable, 5 April 2011
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This review is from: The Unfolding Of Language (Paperback)
It is a paradox that the vast majority of linguistics books are virtually unreadable, that books which attempt to describe the process of communication are usually good examples of how not to communicate. However, this is an exception. While dealing with some pretty difficult material, Deutscher manages to make his text interesting, accessible and amusing, with examples drawn from a wide range of languages from obscure Australian Aboriginal languages to Chinese, from Irish to Maori. The old maxim goes that if a book is easy to read, it was probably very difficult to write, and if it is difficult to read, it was probably easy to write. In this case, he has either written and rewritten this book obsessively until it is a model of clarity, or he is just sickeningly gifted. Either way, it is an excellent book, either for the intelligent layperson or for the linguist looking for an overview of the progress which has been made in areas like typology and grammaticalisation while the various Chomskyan models have tended to hog the limelight.
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